More than a year after former pastor Ted Haggard resigned from his position at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Haggard has severed his official relationship with the New Life Church Restoration Team.
The megachurch said Tuesday Haggard has prematurely ended a "spiritual restoration" process begun when he was fired for sexual misconduct.
Haggard was the church's senior founding pastor.
In November 2006, he was fired from New Life Church and resigned as head of the National Association of Evangelicals amid allegations he had an affair with a male prostitute. The man also said he saw Haggard use methamphetamine.
Haggard confessed to undisclosed "sexual immorality" and said he bought meth but didn't use it.
In January 2007, Haggard voluntarily agreed to enter a process of spiritual restoration.
Late Monday, Brady Boyd, the pastor at New Life Church, sent a letter to parishioners updating them on Haggard.
New Life said that "the process of restoring Ted Haggard is incomplete and (New Life) maintains its original stance that he should not return to vocational ministry."
Haggard and his family moved to Phoenix last year. As part of a severance package that paid Haggard through 2007, he agreed to leave Colorado Springs and not talk about the scandal publicly. But Haggard made public an e-mail asking for financial support, drawing a rebuke from the restoration team.
He had agreed shortly after his dismissal to the restoration process, which was expected to include counseling and prayer and last five years or longer. New Life officials made it clear that "restoration" would not include a return to the pulpit.
On Tuesday, New Life said Haggard will maintain an undisclosed "accountability relationship" with Phoenix First Assembly of God and Pastor Tommy Barnett.
Barnett was one of three evangelical elder statesmen who served on the restoration team.
New Life's statement said Haggard's leadership of the church had been extraordinary "for many years" and wished him and his family well.
Haggard was replaced in August by Brady Boyd, who had been an associate senior pastor at Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas.
In December, a gunman opened fire at New Life, killing two people before taking his own life.
That gunman had mentioned Haggard several times in his online rants. After he died, police found the book "I Had To Say Something: The Art of Ted Haggard's Fall" in his car. The book was written by Mike Jones, the male escort in the Haggard case.
Here is the New Life Church's letter in its entirety.
Dear New Life Church family and friends,Today, our church's board of trustees will release a statement regarding the end of the restoration process for Ted Haggard. This process may receive some media attention, and I want you to hear of it from us before you read about it in the newspaper or hear it on the evening news.Let's continue to pray for Ted, Gayle, and their family.God bless you,Brady Boyd, Senior Pastor, New Life Church, Colorado Springs, CO.Ted Haggards leadership of New Life Church for many years was extraordinary and the depth of spiritual maturity that is found today in the church is in large part attributed to his leadership as the founding senior pastor.In January 2007, Ted Haggard voluntarily agreed to enter a process of spiritual restoration. He has selected Phoenix First Assembly and Pastor Tommy Barnett as his local church fellowship and is maintaining an accountability relationship there. He has recently requested to end his official relationship with the New Life Church Restoration Team and this has been accepted by them.New Life Church recognizes the process of restoring Ted Haggard is incomplete and maintains its original stance that he should not return to vocational ministry. However, we wish him and his family only success in the future.Because spiritual restoration is a necessarily confidential process, the church does not anticipate that it, or its overseers or restorers will make further comment about it.
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